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Our People

People are the most important resource for FISH and everyone is as important as the other. Together we form part of the whole of FISH and together we work to make a difference in bringing about positive long term sustainable change in the lives of individuals, families, communities, Australia and the world.

David Wirrpanda

David Selwyn Burralung Merringwuy Galarrwuy Wyal Wirrpanda is a Yort-Yorta man and a former Australian rules footballer, best known for his career with the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL). Born in Melbourne, he was raised in Shepperton, Victoria. Following early football success David was selected by West Coast during the 1995 draft period and made his debut for the club during the following season. Having played his first game for West Coast at the age of 16 years and 268 days, he remains the youngest player to have played a senior game for the club.


Selected in the 2005 All-Australian team, and the following season he was a member of the West Coast premiership side that defeated Sydney in the 2006 grand final. David retired at the end of the 2009 season, finishing with 227 games for the club. Since the conclusion of his playing career, he has involved himself in charity work, including the establishment of the Wirrpanda Foundation, an organisation supporting Indigenous Australians. David unsuccessfully contested the 2013 Federal election as the National Party’s candidate for the Senate in Western Australia.


David was named WA’s most Inspirational People of the Year in 2008, was the State recipient Young Australian of the year in 2009, was named the 9th most influential Aboriginal Australian by The Bulletin magazine in 2007 and 2008, in 2012 was named National NAIDOC Person of the Year and is a Life Member of the AFL.


David has used his influence to encourage young Indigenous people to get an education. He is committed to promoting strong role models and healthy life choices with a focus on increasing school retention and connection with education to give Aboriginal young people a strong basis for further study or entry into the workforce. David is committed to establishing Aboriginal role models and mentors to provide support for Aboriginal young people, especially for high school girls, health programs and a work-readiness program. His aim through this is to make change slowly from the ground up – change that will be sustainable.


David has strong connections and is highly respected in the Northern Territory, where his family comes from, and also has strong connections with Victoria where he was born and where his mother was heavily involved in Aboriginal rights. David has a strong relationship with Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, has strong connections to both State and Federal politicians and is respected by the corporate community.

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